Whether you create an extensive estate plan or simply a will, there are certain things you need to include in any legal document to ensure it serves its intended purpose.
The goal of drafting a will is usually to leave a legacy once you die and provide for those who depend on you. What are the basic pieces of information that every will should include?
Information about assets
The more private you are with your personal finances, the less information other people will have about your property and debts.
You will want to include specific details about all of your major assets, from your primary residence to investment properties and brokerage accounts. Keeping a comprehensive list of your most valuable assets will make it easier for your executor to locate and secure them after your death.
Information about beneficiaries
You will probably want to leave something behind to provide for your spouse and children, as well as grandchildren, aging parents or even siblings. Ensuring that you include full names, dates of birth and possibly even Social Security numbers of your intended beneficiaries will make it easier for your executor to carry out your wishes and locate your beneficiaries.
Information about those who depend on you
Whether you have minor children, a guardianship over a sibling with special needs or a dog you love, you need to think ahead about any living being that depends on you. Naming a guardian for children or incapacitated adults is an important inclusion in your last will. So is naming someone to take responsibility for your pet.
Knowing what to include in your will can maximize the protections your estate planning documents offer for you and your family members.